22nd May, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
Ahead of the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC), holding from 26 to 30 May, 2022, some members of the party in Edo State, have warned against allowing former chairman of the party and presidential aspirant, Adams Oshiomhole, to participate in the exercise.
The stakeholders under the aegis of Concerned Afemai APC Members, gave the warning during a protest outside the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
According to them, APC risks losing grounds completely in Edo State where the governorship seat is now being occupied by the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They noted that there are several legal cases and antecedents that the PDP could use to disqualify Oshiomhole, should he emerge victorious in his dual bid for the presidency and the Senate are pending.
Coordinator of Concerned Afemai APC Members, Steven Asemah, said this in a statement read to journalists at Buhari House, Abuja titled, ‘The controversies of Oshiomhole’s credibility to contest APC primaries’ signed by CAAM Secretary, Ojo Evbouan.
Asemah said: “We wish to draw the attention of our party to the serial controversies vis-a-vis legal burden hanging on Adams Alliu Oshiomhole, especially relating to his non-credibility to participate in the ongoing APC nomination exercise for the 2023 general election.
“In view of the precarious opposition status of APC in Edo state, wherein the ruling PDP under a draconian Governor Godwin Obaseki may lay ambush on the electoral prospects of APC if Adams Oshiomhole is considered for nomination, we, therefore, advise the APC Appeal Screening Committee to curtail avoidable technical losses of APC in Edo-North (which remains the only APC stronghold in Edo state).
“The Appeal Committee should review and step down Adams Oshiomhole from the ongoing 2022 APC nomination process.”
Citing various cases, Asemah added: “Based on a subsisting indictment in May 14, 2020, by Justice Oyomire (retd.) Judicial Commission of Inquiry Report which indicted Adams Oshiomole on the gross breach of the Edo State Public Procurement Law in the N1.4bn Supply and Installations of medical Equipment by VAMED Engineering Nigeria Limited (January 4th 2015).
“And that on December 23, 2015 Contract Awards of N12.2bn to A&K Construction Ltd and another N2.5bn to Sageto Ltd for Constructions of a Teaching Hospital and Senate building respectively in the Edo University Iyamho, were also fraught with breaches of the State’s Procurement laws.
“The Constitutionality of the powers of state governors to institute administrative or judicial commissions of enquiry within their areas of jurisdiction is no longer contentious, because powers of state governments to legislate on matters is in the residual list of the 1999 Constitution.
“Furthermore, the Attorney-General of Edo state has powers to prosecute any person accused of committing state offences, such as the indictment of Adams Oshiomole.”
The group also noted that it is a dent in the credibility of Adams Oshiomhole if he has not disclosed his indictment in his 2022 APC Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms.
They added that any such non-disclosure by Adams Oshiomhole will be contrary to article 7(iv) and 21.2(v) of the APC Constitution.
“The authenticity of Oshiomhole’s membership status after his suspension remains an unsettled fundamental issue. We recall that as of August 24, 2021 Justice D.Z. Senchi of an Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi, ruled that ‘Pursuant to the Motion on Notice, No. FCT/HC/M/8148/2020, dated and filed on 1/7/2020 discontinuing this suit at the instance of the Plaintiffs/Applicants and the Defendants/Respondents not opposing the application for discontinuance, the application is hereby granted and suit is dismissed.
“’Parties to bear their respective cost, if any.’ It was a suit filed by Comrade Mustapha Saliu, Oshawo Steven and four others over the purported suspension of the former APC National Chairman by his ward 10 APC executives, Etsako West L.G.A.
“An Abuja High Court had earlier asked Oshiomhole to Step Aside as National Chairman of the APC pending the determination of the substantive suit. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Lower Court, and Oshiomhole stepped aside,” the statement read.
Commenting on Oshiomhole’s alleged dual candidacy, the stakeholders said: “The validity of individuals picking dual nomination forms within the same nomination process of a political party is not a controversial political habit that is exposed to legal challenge anytime.
“Consequently, Oshiomole’s dual aspiration (for Presidency & Senate) within APC 2022 nomination process, is a disregard for internal democracy, APC constitution, INEC guidelines, Electoral Act 30,35,115d, 115k & 1999 Constitution.”
Spokesman of the former APC national chairman, Victor Oshioke, could not be reached to react to the allegations.